When was the last time you – or you and your financial adviser – did a top to bottom review of your entire financial situation? For most people, the answer to that question is really easy – never. It is a daunting task to think about all the things that affect your finances. And sometimes the answers are ones you don’t want to hear which makes it an even more painful exercise. So, we recently spent some time brainstorming a Financial Check-up Checklist. It is intended to be something you can refer to periodically but there are a number of items that you ought to think about before year-end:
- Do you have significant unrealized capital gains or losses in your portfolio? This deep into a bull market you probably have plenty of the former but you really should think about tax-loss harvesting before year end. Have you taken gains during the year? Do you have any positions with losses that can be sold before year-end to offset the gains?
- Are you eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Have you made the maximum contribution for this year?
- Do you have a Flexible Spending Account? Remember these are use-it-or-lose-it, so make sure you’ve taken maximum advantage.
- Have you taken all your Required Minimum Distributions for the year?
- Have you made all your charitable contributions for the year? Can you make a contribution with appreciated assets? What about a direct charitable contribution from your IRA? Have you considered a donor-advised fund?
- Have you made all the gifts you want to grant this year (up to $14k/person)?
- Can you still defer any income to next year?
- Can you accelerate any deductions to this tax year? For instance, do you have any property taxes due early next year you can pay now? What about any unpaid medical bills?
That isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch but it should get you to thinking. Here’s the complete checklist which is also on the Financial Planning page of our website. If you need some help with any of the items, contact us and we’d be happy to help.